A Closer Look at a Career as a Medical Office Assistant
Canada’s health care industry is an ever-growing one, with continuous investment support from both the public and private sectors. It will only continue to flourish, especially with the increasing aging population, which translates to an increased demand of health care services for seniors and retirees. In British Columbia alone, there is a total of 210,000 health care professionals, and the figure is expected to pick up even more.
While Physician – General/Family Practice & Specialists, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Occupation Therapist, Medical Laboratory Technologist, and Physiotherapist
Respiratory Therapist are the top of the list for most in demand health care practitioners, all health care facilities—whether hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centres, treatment centres, etc.—will need a medical office assistant to ensure health care services run smoothly.
If this is the career path you have in mind, continue to read below as we delve deeper into this profession.
Medical Office Assistant – What You Need to Know
While a formal medical education is not required to be a medical office assistant, health care professionals owe a lot to these medical office assistants. Basically, they are the heart of the organization, making sure all patients are booked for appointments accordingly, attended to by the corresponding physician/doctor, and are invoiced properly. They are also mainly responsible for ensuring patient records and documents are organized and secured as they should be.
Without them, medical care facilities will be in pure chaos—patients with no scheduled appointments come in for checkups any time they please and leave without proper billing or documentation. Without someone ensuring the appointment system is in place, patients might be neglected or outright ignored. In some cases, medical office assistants are also tasked to help prep patients for examinations or tests.
According to PayScale.com, medical office assistants can earn C$26,745 – C$45,962 a year with additional potential earnings for bonus or overtime work.
Since a medical office assistant’s main tasks involve administrative duties, they should have administrative capacities and excellent organizational and time management skills. Not only do they need to set up appointments for patients, they also set up follow-up visits for patients who have major medical issues. Medical office assistants need to also have excellent customer service skills and rapport building skills because they would also need to speak with patients to confirm their appointments, usually by phone (although sending out email reminders is also common).
To kick off a career as a medical office assistant, a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Enrolling in specialized programs offered in vocational schools and community colleges can also prove to be advantageous, especially for those who aim to work in a large-scale medical office.
Pros and Cons
Working as a medical office assistant does mean the same stress and pressure for administration assistants and, in some cases, even more as hospital or clinic settings can be extremely busy and you would have to deal with numerous patients daily.
In addition, being a medical office assistant can be hazardous as well since you are exposed to patients and their respective illnesses. However, as long as you follow standard operating procedures in health care safety, you will be fine.
The role does offer its rewards as you are an important component for patients to receive quality health care.